Thursday, August 26, 2004

O'er the land of the nitpicky...

My roommate must have found it a little weird when I yelled, "Oh shut up, Maureen Dowd!" at my computer screen, but I feel I had just cause. Even though Dowd was probably joking, apparently a lot of people are actually worked up over the lack of belligerence in the rendition of our national anthem being played at the Olympics. (See the Post article.)

Dowd's quote was about how "our warlike national anthem has been transformed, from blaring horns to peaceful, soothing strings" in the hopes of creating what a Wall Street Journal article called a "Europe-friendly version of the anthem."

Um, what?

Apparently there are a lot of Americans who are upset by the quieter, less bombastic version of the anthem composed by Peter Breiner. They see in this some sort of political statement about our actions around the world. Really, they see in it the chance to perpetuate the "us vs. them" mentality that has emerged in recent years.

This to me is right up there with Tom DeLay (my own congressman, sad to say) bitching about the fat Statue of Liberty Subway used in their German ads. To give him credit (which I never thought I'd do), I can actually sorta see how someone could maybe get offended by that. They would have to fail to see how funny and accurate the ad actually was. Having been to Europe, I can vouch for the fact that they make us seem like a bunch of porkers.

But to get offended for a rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" not because of an offensive performance (such as Roseanne's infamous off-key, crotch-grabbing fiasco at a 1990 baseball game) but rather because of a difference in arrangement is utterly absurd. I mean, I can even see how people were shocked by Jimi Hendrix's performance at Woodstock. But this, well, it just makes no sense to me. I guess some people just view everything as a personal attack. Must be this culture of victimhood we've managed to cultivate. Anyway, back off the soapbox, Mike.

Song lyric of the day:
"They look down their noses at what people say
But these are just words, and words are okay
It's what you do, not what you say
If you're not part of the future, then get out of the way!"
-John Mellencamp, "Peaceful World"

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Define irony...

Reading Leonard Pitts' article from Monday (which I had to search for online, since the Chronicle doesn't print them anymore), I laughed out loud in the middle of the Student Center as I read his retort to the fundamentalist Christians who believe homosexuality can be cured:

"I would remind them of Gary Cooper and Michael Bussee, who in 1976 founded an organization called Exodus. Its stated mission was to grant 'freedom from homosexuality' through the power of Christ. Exodus is still around, but Cooper and Bussee left the group after they fell in love with each other."

If that isn't ironic, I don't know what is, and it's entirely possible I have the wrong definition of the word "irony".

(Read the full article here. It talks about lessons to be learned from the whole Governor McGreevey fiasco, and how they will probably be missed by those who need to learn them.)

Song lyric of the day:
"When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school
It's a wonder I can think at all"
-Paul Simon, "Kodachrome"

Monday, August 23, 2004

Just out of curiosity...

Has anyone received a $10 bill for change in the last month or so? Because everytime I expect a ten I get two fives. This has happened a lot over the summer months. I can't remember the last time I've even seen a $10 bill. Is there a shortage of them in this country or something? I have news for anyone running for president: it may be possible to earn my vote solely based on the platform of increasing $10 bill circulation. Think about it...

Song lyric of the day:
"If I had to explain it
I wouldn't know where to start
It's like you fall in love
While I just fall apart"
- Get Up Kids, "Ten Minutes"

Friday, August 20, 2004

The cockroaches have spoken

Well, November's election has been decided with 80% accuracy. The race between "John Kerry" the cockroach and "George W. Bush" the cockroach ended with "Kerry" defeating "Bush" soundly. You can read the full details here (honestly, there's not much more than what I've already told you).

What I derive from this event is: our presidential candidates are really both just cockroaches, but with a little prodding maybe one will actually do something right.

Song lyric of the day:
"This is over my head, but underneath my feet
'Cause by tomorrow morning I'll have this thing beat
And everything will be back to the way that it was
I wish that it was just that easy"
-Lifehouse, "Somewhere in Between"

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Don't Panic!

In the new, serious-minded spirit of this weblog, I feel it is my duty to inform everyone of a new development certain to have a dramatic impact on the world as we know it: "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" movie is coming out in 2005.

The cast features the unknown (to me at least) Martin Freeman as Arthur Dent, Mos Def as Ford Prefect (I'm less skeptical now that I watched "The Italian Job" again), Zooey Deschanel as Tricia "Trillian" McMillan, and, in pure strokes of casting genius, Sam Rockwell as Zaphod Beeblebrox and Warwick Davis (yes, the Leprechaun himself) as Marvin the Paranoid Android.

The movie will also feature John Malkovich as religious leader Humma Kavula, a character created especially for the screen by Douglas Adams. That should be interesting to say the least.

So now, in addition to "Revenge of the Sith", there are two highly-anticipated (by me) movies that are coming out next summer. I know, I'm a geek. But whatever.

Song lyric of the day:
"All of us are done for
We live in a beautiful world
Yeah we do, yeah we do"
-Coldplay, "Don't Panic"

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Reasons Missouri sucks other than John Ashcroft

Since Missouri just became the first state to amend its constitution to ban gay marriage, I wanted to take the opportunity to voice a few opinions on the subject. Anyone who knows me well at all will probably find this post redundant, but oh well.

Let's make it clear right from the start: I oppose any amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would forbid gay marriage. This is part of a larger opposition I hold to any amendment that would restrict state and individual rights period. We've had one such amendment: #18, Prohibition. It was repealed by #21, and every time I pop open a Sam Adams I thank God for that. Well, not every time, but you get the idea.

Another thing to point out is that I fully support marital rights for gay couples. This stems not only from the decently large number of gay friends I have, but also from a simpler belief that homosexuality is a) not a problem and b) not something that can be changed by a clinic.

And I guess I've really summed up my perception of the issue with the two above points. I'd just like to expound a little on the tricky aspect of what happened in Missouri today. I have said I am vehemently against amending the U.S. Constitution, which to me is the backbone of our free society. Unfortunately, state constitutions are different. And the people of Missouri have decided, as the 10th Amendment of the Constitution expressly allows them to do, to do to gay people what Plessy v. Ferguson did to black people: they are now separate but equal. As much as I would argue against it, that's their prerogative.

I didn't completely expect this from a state that just 4 years ago opted for a dead man rather than our current Attorney General to represent them in the Senate. Still, I can't say I'm surprised. Anyway, enough rambling from me.

(For a more thorough, well-thought out analysis of the issue, visit Jeff Woodhead's first blog column here.)

Song lyric of the day:
"The perception that divides you from him is a lie
For some reason you never asked why
This is not a black and white world
You can't afford to believe in your side"
-Live, "The Beauty of Gray"

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Stop fighting Vietnam, already!

I got an email the other day featuring quotes from 20 or so distinguished members of the armed services explaining why the were not going to vote for Kerry. The fact that this is yet another case of voting against one candidate rather than voting for the other candidate is beside the point. I'd rather focus on the nature of these men's arguments: not a single one cited a single thing Kerry has done since 1972.

To give you an idea of how different the world was in 1972: my parents had never met each other, I was 8 years shy of being a fetus, the Soviet Union was still together, the Beatles were still together, Elvis was still alive, and so on. It was a long friggin' time ago.

What I'm getting at is, why are all these people still fighting Vietnam? (I include Kerry in this question, because I think his focus on his military record from 30 years ago was a bad idea.) But also, and perhaps moreso, why are Kerry opponents attacking him for things that he did so long ago? Do his anti-war actions after returning home make him any less capable of being commander-in-chief than a man who may have supported the war but sure as hell didn't fight in it? And don't forget that Bush used to be an alcoholic, but that should hardly be used against him now, should it?

John Kerry has plenty of vulnerable areas that his opponents could be attacking. I know I'm not exactly a swing voter, but come on people, make an argument I might actually care about. And to Kerry, I say, "Congratulations, you're a war hero. I'm duly impressed. What are your plans to help our nation today?"

Song lyric of the day:
"You say you want a revolution?
Well, you know, we all want to change the world
And you know it's gonna be alright"
-The Beatles, "Revolution"